My truth about weariness

Every week or so (yes! it’s that often) I feel like I hit a wall. I have to take a step back, mentally check myself, go through all my to do lists and remind myself what’s really important and what’s not. Today I was having one of those days. I worked hard yesterday. I cooked a lot of food. And my kids were particularly, how do I say it? Off the chain. Sorry, there’s not another way to describe it without using potentially offensive language. 

So, I come home from school drop off and think about simply curling up in a ball on the couch. Then I decide no, I am going to make some breakfast, get into my devotion time. And before you know it I am reading John 4:34. Jesus has just shared the gospel with the woman at the well. He tells the disciples he’s not hungry. They are confused, because they walked far and the NLT version even begins the chapter by saying JESUS WAS WEARY (vs. 6)! And then he says:

…my nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.

Whoa Jesus! YES! This is how it’s meant to be. And I realize, I need to refocus. It’s so easy for us to get off course and think about ourselves isn’t it? The truth is He has called me for others, because he loves us all so much. I took a moment to rest in him (some prayer, some worship music, and now I am PUMPED!). It’s not always easy but it is a testament to all that I KNOW JESUS HAS DONE FOR ME.

I have had an overwhelming sense these past few days that I need to begin to share my family’s story more. As I read this about doing the will of God I was challenged to share that here. These are the seeds of the gospel that I have to give away. My husband comes from a past riddled with abuse and addiction. His family endured some really hard times, and he lost both his sister and his mother as a young adult. I was a church kid. No huge issues until my worldview was challenged as a teenager and I used that as an opportunity to rebel. This rebellion lead to situations in which I was abused, scared, lost and more than a little far from God. I had a constant need to be liked and have fun. If I felt like I didn’t have these at any moment I fought depression. I looked in the mirror and would talk to myself, often. “This isn’t you, Andrea.” I would audibly say that. But nothing changed. I didn’t know how to. Then one day, after I had experienced two tangible realizations of God’s presence in my life, I woke up. I knew following God was my only hope. It wasn’t easy, there were a lot of mistakes, and I had (and have) a lot of pruning to do. But God has used these past several years to show Andy and I both that he has a call and purpose for our lives. It’s way different than anything we could have ever imagined. But it’s also beautiful and makes me so thankful for the way He works. Reminds me of Acts 17:28…

For in Him we live and move and have our being.

We are where we are and who we are today BY THE GRACE OF GOD!

So today I started off weary, but now I am just thankful, and preparing to be able to share more of my story. It’s amazing what asking Jesus with a little help for your weary soul can do.

Learning about being… church?

Thinking about Church and what it means to truly be the body of Christ. Mark 12 says the two greatest commandments are love the Lord your God with everything you have and love your neighbor as yourself. Philippians 1:5 says that we are in partnership in the Gospel. This word koinenia is a participation, communion and relational action (thanks Pastor Manny). 1st Corinthians 3:9 calls us coworkers— that we have synergy for God‘s purpose. If the church is the bride of Christ then his way to the world is through the church. We must all work together, and to work together we must have relationship.

Although I haven’t had any long-term careers in my adult life the two I have had have both had one thing in common. We had synergy. We were collaborators for the same purpose. Because the people that I had the honor to work with were all passionate and had integrity about the work we were doing; we were like a family. We all have the same purpose, the same goals, when we are at work we were in it for that reason, for our students or our refugee clients… and this made for a beautiful working environment that everyone could be proud of. Sure, we had disagreements or things fell through the cracks but all in all it was a smooth operation and we progressed forward in who we were reaching. It got me to thinking, why isn’t the church like this?

Why don’t we see ourselves with one purpose and one love and know that we are all there to work together. Why do we see as more of a service for ourselves? Either just to get us through the week or to check off a box that’s called our commitment to God. Is it religiosity? Selfishness? Or worse, an inability to see and know God? Is it that our root purpose, the priority of the kingdom of God (Luke 12:31) isn’t even there? Or maybe we think it is, we are going through the steps of what we are told, but because we aren’t cultivating it, leaning into the Spirit, and learning from those who are seasoned veterans of the faith we are only fooling ourselves into some twisted cultural understanding of reliance on God that’s really more reliance on ourself? And if we rely on self are we truly trusting God and can we ever fulfill our purpose? These are my questions to my fellow believers and to myself. Answer the call! Submit yourselves to his kingdom and his work. Plant yourselves in a Bible teaching and believing church, loving God and others as yourselves, see what He does!! I have much to learn, and I’m excited that I’m finally positioned to learn it. And I can’t wait to see what God does.

The fight

 There’s a real reason we are here- more than fun and celebration or seeking enjoyment from life’s simple pleasures. These things are gifts, yes, but they aren’t “the point.”

If you’re a believer you are here to bridge the gap between God and the world. You on your own can’t save anyone, no, we don’t do any of that by our own power, but yet the Word of God calls us the hands and feet. Yet we are often so preoccupied with this world, myself included, that our own interests dictate us and we never even stop to participate in the lives of others. We may feel emotion or compassion, we may even say the random prayer for those outside our immediate circle, but what about an active role? In our prayer, business, family, consumerism (uh-oh that’s a tough one) are we fighting FOR the world?

What I don’t mean here is fighting against the world with our dissonance or disagreement, there are plenty of so-called activists who have set their sites on telling others how we disagree with them, possibly even tearing them down in the process, to achieve a “Christian” result. What I mean here is fighting FOR others, in the physical and spiritual realm. This is something that I realized recently in my marriage- and while it is of utmost importance here (that I fight FOR and not against my spouse) I see it as equally important in all my roles- mother, daughter, sister, friend, ultimately “just” as a follower of Christ I should be so full of love that fighting for people is my first instinct. The Word says to “pray without ceasing” and “love others as yourself.” Phrases that seem so simple but are WEIGHTY in the day to day. So, how can I apply this in my own life?

  • praying daily for those around me- not just loved ones
  • standing up for others beyond my comfort level
  • stretching my mind to see the perspective of others
  • asking God to soften my heart to struggles that may be real to others but seem “easy” to me
It may not seem natural at first, but I am living proof that God changes from the inside out, if you invite Him in and allow Him, sometimes it just takes a step. Y’all, this kind of living is not for the faint of heart. I am not saying it’s easy. But if I am a believer with a living and breathing father, don’t I want that faith to grow in a way that touches people- “for God so loved the world”… right?
 
Maybe that doesn’t seem like a fight to you, but I guarantee that when Jesus’ disciples witnessed him going to a cross to die, it didn’t seem that way either. Maybe it even looked like he was giving up, giving in to the powers that be. But God’s kingdom doesn’t look like the world. Jesus sacrificed HIS LIFE to fight for our very souls- a chance for you and me to have a relationship with him- because it’s not just about salvation.
 
So, maybe this kind of “fight,” a love that encompasses all people, is what it’s all about. Maybe I’m the key and you’re the key to more people being fought for in a way that turns their hearts towards Jesus or helps them say YES to the Spirit’s invitation. Maybe there’s no maybe about it.